Friday, March 25, 2005

If you care, they will find you

On January 18, 2005 a terrible incident occurred in Tal Afar. US troops fired on a car, thinking that the car was getting too close and possibly dangerous. There was a family in that car: two parents, one niece, and five children. The oldest child was 14, the youngest just turned 2.

The parents were killed immediately.

Only one of the children suffered serious physical injury, and he now is a paraplegic. There happened to be a professional photographer on the scene when this happened, and his photos were seen around the world. The image of one of the little girls squatting down, her hands and dress and face streaked with her parent's blood, with her mouth wide open in a scream of horror - was on the front page of most European newspapers on inauguration day.

This incident came to my attention because I read on the web about events in Iraq every day. No matter what the corporate media (here in this country) is telling you, I can assure you that the Iraqi people are suffering HORRIBLY from this war and occupation.

I emailed the photographer (easy to find him with a web search) and asked if I could reproduce the photos. I was thinking of sending it (via a postcard) to every US Senator with the statement "Her parents did not vote in the elections". He said the photos belonged to his employer, and I would have to buy them.

I got an email from this photographer last night. He told me of a fund raising drive to address the problems the orphaned children are facing. This email led me to the following site:

There, you can make a donation to help this family. If you care, this will find you. The donations are tax-deductible. If you care, this will move you.

Thursday, March 24, 2005

Last night, it rained and rained in the Asheville area. This morning, I got a call from the Unitarian Universalist church saying that the flags to remember the Iraqi Civilian Casualties were looking pretty bad, and they would take the flags down.

Later in the day, I got a chance to discuss with them how the exhibit went overall. They felt it was a great display, and did help increase awareness of the price the Iraqi people have paid for this conflict. They had many people come and talk to them, and many were supportive and appreciative. They also got some negative feedback and some heckling from people driving by as they pulled up the flags. One man reportedly said "why are you remembering suicide bombers?" I guess he thinks all Iraqi civilians are suicide bombers.

I think it went well over all, I wish they could have stayed up the entire week. Maybe next time, we will make plastic flags, which would last longer. I will bring this up at the next WNC Peace Coalition meeting.

The flags had a picture of a peace dove on them, and the following words:

"This is a remembrance of the Iraqi Civilian Casualties.
May they rest in Peace. May their country find Peace."

Monday, March 21, 2005

Asheville's Peace Rally

Asheville had a PEACE RALLY on March 20, 2005. This was organized by the WNC Peace Coalition. There were about twenty of us that did the work of organizing the rally. We scheduled this so it would not conflict with the events in Fayetteville. It was a beautiful spring day.

We started at 11 AM, setting up our "Iraqi Civilian Memorial Flags" at City-County plaza. These flags said

"This is a remembrance of the Iraqi Civilian Casualties.
May they rest in Peace. May their country find Peace."

They were printed on white paper, and there was a peace dove on the flags also. We made about 2,000 of these flags, and they were on thin metal stakes. The stakes were three feet high and about 1/8 of an inch wide. These stakes were donated to us, and many people spent many hours putting them together.

The Asheville Police showed up and made us take them all down. They said they could have been used as a weapon. The American flags, which were two feet high on wooden stakes that were over a 1/4 inch thick, were acceptable. I took pictures of the police officers and did a recording of the interaction between us. This made me very angry that we could not keep the flags up. We had put in a lot of work, and we wanted to increase the public's awareness of the Iraqi civilians who have been hurt or killed. We did not see them as possible weapons.

The rest of the rally went well. We had about 400 people there, and I was pleased to see some church groups represented there. We had a variety of speakers, some of whom brought up other issues besides peace and US foreign policy and Iraq (we wished they had not). Most of the speakers were well-received. We had a speaker from Physicians for Social Responsibility, who talked on "Smart Security", and several poets perform their poetry against war and violence. The best speaker was Cindy Sheehan, of Gold Star Families for Peace. She talked about her son's death in Iraq. She is a strong voice for peace. She is a strong voice to call for the end to the occupation of Iraq. What a horrible price she and her family have paid.

Prior to this Peace Rally, there was no consensus around thanking the Asheville Police from the stage. After the Asheville Police made us take down the flags we had made (but deemed the US flags were okay), no one felt like the Asheville Police should be thanked. Unfortunately, one of the MCs decided to thank the Asheville Police for not searching our backpacks, like they did in Fayetteville! Imagine, she thanked the police for not violating our civil rights. The members of the WNC Peace Coalition who worked on this Peace Rally were appalled.

There were several tables on various topics, most related to peace activities and war resistance. I had an exhibit on EYES WIDE OPEN (see at the rally, which we are bringing to Asheville later this year. I felt I was being pulled in 20 different directions during the rally. I will try to do less next time around. I had too much going on.

I had set up my display board on Iraqi Civilian casualties. There are 5 of them, covered with names of Iraqis who died in this war. They are 40 by 60 inches, which is pretty big. I was afraid that the wind would blow them away, but I used a rope, with clips on it, to hold them down. They were lying flat on the ground. These names were collected by the CIVIC team, under Marla Ruzicka. The Jarrars helped with collection of these names. Some of the names came from the Iraqi Body Count website. The list of names is very incomplete. I heard that the local TV station showed a clip of these boards. I am going to try and get a copy of this broadcast.

The "I Want Peace" flag was the backdrop of our stage. It is made up of pieces of red and white fabric sewn together to form the stripes of the flag, and a blue piece of fabric in the upper left corner. The blue part has the word "PEACE" in English and Arabic, sent to me by a women who lives in Baghdad. Her name is Faiza Jarrar, and I have been emailing her. She writes a blog called "A Family in Baghdad". The red and white pieces of fabric said "I want Peace" on them. They were signed by hundreds of local people. It is a large flag.

After the rally, several of us went to Unitarian Universalist church and put up the 2,000 Iraqi Civilian Casualties flags. This church is located on a busy street, so lots of people will see them. It looked impressive.

That night, I went on the radio program "Listen to Women" on WPVM, along with Cindy Sheehan, two poets (Carrie Gertsmann and Beki Buchanan) from our rally, both of the MCs (Kam Parker and Mendy Knott) from our rally, and Robin Cape, the host of the show. It was an impressive show. It was pretty intense doing the show also. As always, Cindy's voice was very powerful. Hearing Kam's story (she is a former Marine) was pretty impressive also.

We got some good press for our rally. The local paper had this article:

I was exhausted at the end of all this, but it was worth it. I think we did increase awareness of the war and it's toll on civilians and military.

Sunday, March 20, 2005

Fayetteville Rally

Well, I've gotten way behind in blogging, since I am so very busy lately. I hope to catch up soon.
On Saturday, March 19th, I got on the bus and went to Fayetteville to protest. This was organized by United for Peace and Justice. Peggy picked me up at 4:30 AM, and then we picked up James. The bus left at 5 AM. I tried to sleep on the bus, but I couldn't sleep. There were 28 on the bus, and it took almost five hours to get there. It was very quiet on the bus.

We got to the gathering point for the march, and few people were there. I knew that would change. I rounded up five other people to help me carry my "I Want Peace" flag, and that made quite a display. I also got the Shimbergs to carry my "Peace Ribbon" (see Code Pink website for more information) panels - seven in total. That stretched across the road. I was interviewed while carrying the flag by a couple of TV stations. I told them that many people in Asheville signed the panels that I sewed together to make a flag, and Faiza Jarrar sent me the white fabric that said "PEACE" in English and Arabic. Faiza is a women from Baghdad who I started emailing.

There were about 5,000 protesters at the rally. The police searched our bags before we entered the park, and waved us down with metal detector wands. I heard that there was a bomb threat against the Quaker House, which is next to the park.

There were also some counter-demonstrators against the anti-war protesters. There was about 50-75 of them. When I read a report in the local paper later that night, they devoted equal commentary to both groups, and never mentioned the difference in size of the turnout. The anti-peace demonstrators started chanting during Medea Benjamin's speech (from Code Pink), which was okay, but they kept on making yelling when the next speaker came on. That speaker was a parent who's child died in Iraq. That was really disrespectful.

I bumped into Cindy Sheehan there and met her husband. I also got to talk to Camilo Mejia, and I told him what Faiza Jarrar had to say about him on her blog (which is called "A Family in Baghdad"). Camilo seemed a very humble man. A lot of the speakers at the rally touched me, but I did feel they got on and off the stage way too fast. It also seemed the program went on a bit too long.

I am glad I went.

There was only disappointing thing I encountered all day at this rally. One of the protestors there claimed that the "insurgents" in Iraq have a right to resist the US forces and policies (and she is correct about that). She also claimed that it is quite acceptable and necessary that the Iraqi resistance be violent. She is very wrong about that. She claimed this is "self-defense" and therefore justified. The first problem with her position is the fact that any Iraqi combatant is vastly out-powered by US combatants. They will pay a horrible price by trying to overcome US troops with violence. Secondly, as always, it is the civilian population that pays the greatest price, and faces the heaviest toll, in any war or conflict. Perpetuating conflict or war (or starting it in the first place!) is therefore highly immoral. Third, violence begets violence, so reacting violently to US occupation will only increase the violence in the country, and not lead to a solution that is helpful and hopeful to all Iraqis. Fourth, using violence against another human being is immoral, and not in line with what God wants for his children on this planet.

Yes, the Iraqi people have the right and the need to resist the US presence and policies within their country. I hope and pray they do so with all their hearts and minds - and do it in a non-violent manner. That is the only path to stability, justice and lasting peace. And I stand beside them in this non-violent endeavor.

Saturday, March 19, 2005

Upcoming Peace Rallies

I have been incredibly busy lately with peace work, and had no time to blog (sorry). One project I have taken up is gathering names of Iraqi civilians recently killed from internet news. I am going to take these names and attach them to old shoes and add them to the Eyes Wide Open exhibit (see for more information). And, I am happy to say, a local church has agreed to host the Eyes Wide Open exhibit here in Asheville. Date has not been set yet. I've been working on that for awhile. I am very happy that this project is going ahead.

Mostly, though, I have been working on the March 20th rally here in Asheville. This will be at City-County plaza from 2 to 4 PM. I have been the official note taker for the meetings, which also means I get people giving me grief because they don't think I got it down right, or because they think I insert my opinion. We have had some disagreement on what our coalition should support. One area was civil disobedience, which some wanted to support and some decidedly did not. I think it is silly and counter-productive to do civil disobedience in Asheville. It might be useful in DC, however.

Another area was the question of whether or not the Asheville Police should be thanked from the stage by the MCs. I am in favor of this, if the MCs think it is warranted. Several others are very much against it. I don't see the local police as the enemy, and I am wondering if some people in this town are not setting out to provoke the police. They seem to have some well-established prejudices.

And, another area of contention would fall under what I call "micro-management" of the program and the people involved. We spent a lot of time debating things that are of limited importance in my opinion. The program committee had to re-meet because the general group wanted more diversity in the program. Then virtually no one in the general group offered any concrete suggestions to improve diversity in the program. We did increase the number of people on stage, which means the speakers get less time. Whether this is good or not, I don't know. However, at the last meeting, people started discussing if the program was too full!! What time-wasters!!

We are a small group, and I am starting to think that some in the group are either obstructionists, counter-productive, or way caught up in themselves (the "it's all about me!" syndrome). Others in the group have been fantastic! They did tons of work and followed through on all requests.

One project we have been working on is flags to remember the Iraqi Civilian Casualties. The flags are on white paper (1/4 sheet) attached to a metal rod about 3 feet high. They have a picture of a peace dove on them, with the words:

"This is a remembrance of the Iraqi Civilian Casualties. May they rest in Peace. May their country find Peace."

We made about 2,000 of them. We will put them up for the rally on Sunday, and then we will move them to a local church, on a busy street. They will stay there all week. I think this will really help increase the awareness of the toll the Iraqi civilians are paying.

I noticed yesterday that the overall death rate for Iraqi civilians was down. Unfortunately, today it is back up to the regular depressing rate. I am hoping that the country becomes calmer with a new government installed (if it ever gets installed!). I am glad Sistani pushed for elections, and glad the elections when off as well as they did. If there had been elections in the summer of 2003, things might have gone better - but the US authorities blocked that. They said a census needed to be done first, and in the end no census was ever done. They used the food ration cards for registration, which they could have done all along.

Remember last November, when the US supposedly "liberated" Fallujah so they could vote? Almost no one in that city voted, because the city has been destroyed. And, so far, journalists and Red Cross have almost NO access to the area to document the dead, the wreckage, or the human health toll. Now, if the US was proud of what they have done, then why would they continue to hide this? If their cause is just (or justifiable), then why not let people witness what has been done? And US citizens should see what has been done (or is being done, as the case may be) in their names with their tax money.

Tomorrow I am going to Fayetteville to join in the protest. I have mixed feelings about protesting at a military town (since it is not the military that makes the decision to start a war - that is the politician's fault). I have no doubts that the US forces need to get out of Iraq right now. Also on Sunday, I will likely be on the program Listen to Women on WPVM to talk about the Peace rally. Cindy Sheehan, a Gold Star Family for Peace spokesperson, will be the main star on that show. I was briefly on the show last week to promote the PEACE RALLY.

I hope all goes well at this weekend's rallies and that overall US public's awareness of the true cost of this war is increased.

And may this war come to an end.

Monday, March 14, 2005

Let's you and him fight.....

And that is the game the Bushies are playing in Lebanon today. They have been encouraging some of the Lebanese to protest Syria's presence in that country for a few weeks now. Last Tuesday, there was a HUGE pro-Syria demonstration (about 8 pro-Syria demonstrators for every 1 anti-Syria demonstrator). Today, there was another HUGE pro-Syria demonstration, and the Lebanese brought their identity cards to prove to the right wingnuts here in the USA that they were who they said they were. Here's a clip from on news article:

"Their banners proclaimed in English "Shut up Bush," "Bush, we don't need your democracy" and "Bush, we're in Lebanon, not Ukraine."

So, the Bushies are promoting getting Syria out of Lebanon, so the Lebanese can have "free and fair" elections that are truly anti-American and anti-Israel (they were chanting "Death to Israel" and "Death to America" today also). Well, it is not every US president who wants other countries (not all of them Middle Eastern, either) thrown into turmoil, chaos and violence just so they can clearly show they hate the USA. How is this supposed to benefit Americans, or anyone on the planet?

Anyway, I think Bush is playing "let's you and him fight" as part of his "divide and conquer" strategy. I think he has no morals whatsoever.

Sure would like to be proven wrong for a change.

Funniest thing on TV this weekend: Ms. Rice saying that the car bomb assassination of the former Prime Minister of Lebanon shows that Syria's occupation of Lebanon is "not helpful" and did not lead to stability.

So, following that line of argument: what the hell are we doing in IRAQ?

Sunday, March 13, 2005

Trashing CNN and Aaron Brown

Last Tuesday evening, a friend of mine said he was going to watch Aaron Brown's show Newsnight. Well, I think this is a pitiful waste of time, but maybe other people have more time to waste than I do. But, I didn't want my friend to go through life uninformed, so I did go read Brown's transcripts and did an analysis. This is from his March 8, 2005 show. I quit watching in in June 2003.

There was a fair amount of baloney on Clinton's surgery, with extra strength baloney on the psychological effects of surgery, and then more baloney on Clinton. Brown reported on crime in France, and commented on the recent shooting of an Italian secret service agent in Iraq. He said that the Italians were at a checkpoint, which is not what the Italians say at all. (If it was a checkpoint, it surely was poorly marked! Someone in the Italian secret service who has been in Iraq for months should be able to recognize a US checkpoint, I would think.) Brown went on to say "no one has an accurate account". And on Brown's show, no one has any non- US military account either. Those accounts don't exist in CNN world.

Brown then went on to say there were "tens of thousands of protestors" in Lebanon on March 8, 2005. The accurate number would be 500,000 to 1,000,000 protestors. As usual for Newsnight, there was no background for this story, and absolutely no quotes from anyone who was Lebanese. No, only American voices and interpretations exist in this special reality.

Then my favorite story of the day: Romance in the office!!! Brown has discovered that people who work together will, on occasion, be attracted to each other.... and sometimes they act on their feelings! What a surprise! How did we live without knowing this news item!! The only unanswered question is: does this reflect Brown's obsession with sex, or American society's obsession? Stay tuned, I'm sure he will do further updates on this breaking story.

Then there was a story on a lost camera in the tsunami, and the "remarkable" search for truth to find the owner's kin. This was of national importance, I guess..... not.

During the break, a CNN "reporter" did some short reports on various items. There was exactly one more sentence on the bombing in Baghdad than there was on the Michael Jackson story. Yep, at CNN celebrity crime is on nearly the same level as the entire country of Iraq.

Then Brown did a story on the life of Anne Frank. I wonder if he has noticed that there are current-day Anne Franks writing in Iraq??? No??? What does Iraq have to do with anything???

Well, in light of the fact that we are occupying Iraq with about 138,000 US troops and supposedly bringing them "freedom and democracy" via bullets and bombs.... maybe it is a news item? Or maybe it should be? Or am I just being sentimental here?

Well, here's what happened in Iraq on March 8, 2005, per the Today In Iraq website (these are all separate incidents, and I'm sure this is only a partial listing. Incidents with injuries only or no injuries are not counted):

  • 2 Iraqi soldiers and 13 civilians killed in Balad
  • 5 Iraqi soldiers killed in al Muadujah
  • 1 Iraqi solder killed in Baghdad
  • 2 Iraqi soldiers and 2 civilians killed in Baquba
  • 1 Iraqi civilian killed in Qaim
  • 1 Iraqi civilian killed in Tuz
  • 2 Iraqi police killed in Baghdad
  • 2 Iraqi civilians killed in Baghdad
  • 1 insurgent killed by US troops in Mosul
  • 2 insurgents killed by US troops in Ramadi
  • 2 insurgents killed in ad Duja
  • 1 civilian official killed in Baghdad
  • 2 civilians killed in Salmon Park
  • 1 civilian official killed in Baghdad
  • 1 civilian official killed in Mosul
  • 5 Bechtel employees abducted
  • 60 insurgents arrested in Haswa

Well, that's all the incidents for the quiet little country called IRAQ. But there was also a report from the UN saying that 90 sites of unconventional arms material was looted in Iraq. There was a report on overcrowding at Abu Ghraib, and that the US may pull out of there,due to attacks. Another report from a US Army Historian that the US lost dominance in Iraq by July 2003. Electrical output in Iraq is about 1/2 of demand. None of this on Brown's show.

On the home front, Knight Ridder did extensive report on problems with the VA, and there were reports of recruitment difficulties. And the "signature wound" of this war will likely be TBI... Traumatic Brian Injury. The Pentagon also reportedly told suppliers in April 2003 that they had all the bullet proof vests they needed.... but changed their minds in May 2003.

But hey, we know about sex in the office and the diary of Anne Frank and a found camera in the tsunami tragedy.

Watching CNN will make you STOOOOPID.

Sunday, March 06, 2005

The Foolishness of ABC News

From ABC News website today:

"March 6, 2005 The Iraqi elections, imperfect as they were, convinced some American leaders that the Iraqi people had reached a point of no return quite literally turning a corner in the direction of democracy."

As I have said before, you turn a lot of corners when you are wondering around lost in a maze. The rest of the article, based on a Nightline report by Koppel and Bury, goes on to quote Americans on how we could, maybe, might, have reached a "tipping point" in Iraq (due to the recent elections) that will prompt Iraq to become democratic and pluralistic.

As is the OVERWHELMING rule in American "journalism" the entire (yes ENTIRE) article is composed of quoting so-called experts in America, none of whom have spent much time in Iraq. And, as usual, they interview NOT ONE IRAQI.

Yes, in America, the theme "IT'S ALL ABOUT ME, ME, ME!!!" is alive and well.

And so is fantasy land, both in American right-wing corporate media and in "some American leaders" brains.

God help the poor Iraqi people, and everyone else in the Middle East, as the Bush administration pursues it's policy of Middle East Peace via war, war, and more war.

I'm feeling frantic. I'm feeling yet again (as in late 2002 and early 2003) that we will not be able to stop these upcoming wars. I guess the tipping point has already been passed, and that means 100's of thousands, maybe millions, of innocent dead people...... at the hands of American aggression and American incompetence.

I feel sick.

Saturday, March 05, 2005

They shoot journalists, don't they?

Today, Reuters reports that the kidnapped Italian reporter (who was very anti-war) was freed in Iraq. Unfortunately, US troops shot on the car she was riding in while the car was approaching a checkpoint. An Italian secret service agent, who had secured her release, was killed. The editor of the paper where the journalist worked had this to say: "A tragic demonstration which we never wanted that everything that's happening in Iraq is completely senseless and mad." Later news said that the Italian Prime Minister called the Ambassador from the US to a meeting. This is going to be big. Maybe the Italian forces will pull out of Iraq over this incident - one thing for sure: if the US authorities do not handle it correctly (and they never do!) it will seriously damage official US-Italian relationships.

It is, in my opinion, a clear example of the idiotic stupidity of invading Iraq to free them with bombs and bullets. An innocent is captured by the "resistance", then is finally freed, then is almost killed by the US forces in the country. I don't blame the troops much. I think they are quite trigger-happy, but that is because they want to go home alive themselves. It does underscore the fact that the American troops in that country are not a stabilizing force, they are exactly the opposite.

I place all blame for this terrible incident on Mr. Bush and his policies.

There has been repeated cases of journalists in Iraq being killed by the resistance (if that is what they are) and the US troops. The official "investigations" of the killings by US troops were weak indeed. I don't think this is a case of a journalist being targeted, and I doubt most of the other ones are either. I think it is simply that the journalists are being treated just like regular Iraqis, and little regard is given to taking measures to protect them from harm. The US authorities just don't care what happens to the Iraqi people, and make no effort to keep them safe or provide for their needs. If the US authorities cared about the Iraqis, they would note their deaths, their injuries, when their property is damaged or destroyed, they would not tolerate for one minute any torture or abuse-- and they would make all this information public, and their sincere apologies very public. This is not happening.

Mr. Bush is bringing the Iraqi people the freedom of the grave and the democracy of death. What happened to that Italian secret service agent has happened to thousands of Iraqi citizens.

I was trying to show a story about a check-point shooting in Tal Afar to the women who cuts my hair today (and this was before I heard about the other killing). This one happened in January. A picture of a little girl screaming, with blood on her hands, was on the front page of newspapers around the world on January 20th, 2005. Her parents were shot at a checkpoint. But it was not reported by US newspapers. It was ignored by them. Instead, they had pictures of a jubilant Mr. Bush on his inauguration day. As I was showing this story and the pictures to the women who cuts my hair, she said "I don't want to dwell on the negative" which really means "I don't want to know what is going on". She does not what to hear what her government is doing. And yet she claims to be a Christian, and she is an intelligent women.

I was dismayed at her response, and her other responses to my talk of the torture of Iraqi prisoners - she brought up talk about how Iraqi men beat their wife or wives... I'm sure there is domestic violence in Iraq, but what that has to do with sadistic sexual torture by US troops is beyond me. This women also claims that God will punish those who have done wrong.... but she does not seem to realize that by paying US taxes, she (and I) have done serious wrong in the world. By allowing our government to start up a war for no good reason, and then allow our troops to stay there when their presence is only making the situation worse, is also a serious wrong. It is evil.

It is US troops that are mainly killing the Iraqis. We hear about the "insurgents" and the terrorists who kill Iraqis, yet we don't hear about the multiple checkpoint killings every day. We don't hear about the dead from our daily bombings. We don't hear about the dead from the fighting in Fallujah or Najaf. Nowadays, we don't even hear about Ramadi or Hit or Samaria being "liberated" for the third or fourth time. And that's because the US public does not want to know.

there is none so blind as those who will not see.......

I am sad that the Italian agent was killed. I am sadder still that this happens dozens of times every day in Iraq, to ordinary Iraqi citizens who have done nothing wrong. I am sadder still that no one bothers to count or notice these dead.

there is none so blind as those who will not see.......

Wednesday, March 02, 2005

Precinct Meeting here/ ongoing horror in Iraq

I got elected vice-chair of the precinct. That maybe better than chair, since I get to go to all the Democratic meetings in the state, and it involves less work. I guess how much work it is depends on how much I want to do. I do plan on working on promoting the Democratic party in the precinct, and pushing the state and local Democratic party to be progressive instead of corporate suck-ups.

I was horrified at the suicide bombing yesterday in al Hilla, Iraq. It is such a tragic loss of life. I am posting a clip from another blog's comments section on why someone might feel inclined to do such a thing in Iraq today:

"No-one is going to undertake such an action lightly, to willingly end your own life in such a brutal and life-denying way, without some very good reason. Under Saddam I don't recall ever hearing of a suicide bomber inside Iraq, even among the Shias when Saddam was militarily suppressing them as the Americans are doing across the whole country today (apart from de facto Kurdistan). So what has changed? One thing that occurred to me a few weeks ago (and that I briefly aired in this forum) is that he number of available suicide bombers in Iraq today approximates the number of Iraqi men released from captivity in a system that was specifically designed to mortally humiliate and degrade them. It was (is?) official US policy when dealing with suspected 'Islamic terrorists' to focus on their sexuality, to confront the captives with culturally and religiously impossible acts - their nakedness in front of, and humiliation by female soldiers, and particularly the sado-homo acts forced on them by grinning infidels. This regimen is designed to 'break' the unfortunates swept into its ugly gaping maw, and I think it has largely succeeded. The 'broken' men are already dead, in fact they are worse than dead and death would be a release from the pain, shame and humiliation which is so far beyond their cultural and religious rubicon to be unreconcilable. I don't know the numbers of these men, it is certainly in the thousands, but I would suggest that most of them are now planning their bloody release from utter torment. -Prime Minister Tony Quisling"

Our US culture is awash in sexuality, almost all of it inappropriate and almost none of it respectful of the spiritually inherent in our sexuality. In Muslim cultures, sexuality is much more repressed, but it is also treated (from my perspective) much more respectfully. They do not condone nudity, using sexuality to sell everything under the sun, premarital or extramarital sex, or any form of sexuality that is not absolutely heterosexual. They will sometimes kill a women who has been raped (which I totally condemn)... and I guess that would hold for a man who has been raped too, but I don't know. I don't think that happens much there. I am sure there is incest and sexual abuse and rape in Muslim cultures, but I strongly suspect it is much less than in our culture. It seems to me that in our culture, sexuality is either shameless or shameful. This is not healthy. Muslim culture has a high degree of shameful, but little public shameless behavior - there are too many cultural restrictions on that.

I have heard that Muslims who die as a martyr will receive 72 virgins. What is less well know is that the virgins are "made of light". Rather a different cast on things, with that information.

Anyway, getting back to the gay S & M torture and abuse that US troops did on Iraqi citizens to "soften them up".... (another example of shameless sexual behavior, by the way)... I am certain that this really would mess with anyone's head, and make one suicidal. On top of that, it would leave one feeling that any of one's fellow citizens who cooperated with such an entity (the USA, in this case) who would do such things, are most likely headed to hell themselves. So, killing one's self ends the pain, redeems them in the eyes of their religion, and when they take "cooperators" with the Americans with them, that saves the "cooperators" too.

Timothy McVeigh thought it was quite acceptable to bomb US citizens who cooperated (ie: worked for) the US government, in retaliation for the wrongs such government did in Waco. (I condemn McVeigh, what the US authorities did in Waco, and those who handed out the death penalty to McVeigh. I am consistent: killing people is wrong.) So, this tendency to see this behavior in a certain light is not particular to any nationality or religion. (McVeigh killed 169 people, by the way, so he is still a better killer than the Iraqi bombers.)

I don't think McVeigh should have been given the death penalty. He should have been put in prison for life, no parole, and no attention either. Maybe one day he would have realized what he did was so very evil, and that he did not correct the evil done at Waco at all. Maybe. Killing him denies him the opportunity.